‘We Have To Deal With It Before It’s Too Late’, Congressman Mike Gallagher Says of TikTok ‘Threat’

Members of Congress are requesting that the FBI provide a classified hearing on TikTok, citing ‘heightened’ security concerns.

AP/Kiichiro Sato
The TikTok app logo. AP/Kiichiro Sato

Members of Congress are asking the FBI to provide a classified briefing on its investigation into TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, citing “heightened” concern that the popular social platform poses a threat to American consumers and their data. 

In the letter sent by the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, more than two dozen representatives are asking for the information “as soon as possible” and “no later than December 22.” 

“We have every major national security official in our government — the FBI Director, the CIA Director, the NSA Director, the DIA Director, the Director of National Intelligence — all voicing significant concerns about TikTok,” the committee’s chairman, Congressman Mike Gallagher, tells the Sun. “In bipartisan fashion, we banned it on government devices, which proves the point that Republicans and Democrats agree it’s a threat. We have to deal with it before it’s too late.”

The letter signals growing interest from federal lawmakers into a platform that has been under increased scrutiny in recent months. Both Republicans and Democrats have called for regulations — or, in some cases, outright bans on the app — for both its ties to Communist China and for the proliferation of anti-Israel and antisemitic content on the app, as the Sun has reported.

“ByteDance and TikTok are required to assist in CCP intelligence gathering and to provide the CCP with data — including on Americans,” the letter, addressed to the FBI’s director, Christopher Wray, notes. 

The members of Congress write that they are concerned about “the CCP’s ability to use TikTok to spy on Americans and influence the content that they consume,” adding that they are seeking a briefing on the FBI’s and Justice Department’s investigation into ByteDance and “the CCP’s ability to surveil Americans.” The briefing should also include information about what the FBI is doing to protect American consumers, the letter says.

The representatives write that they believe that “under ByteDance ownership, TikTok is a threat to U.S. national security, and American citizens could be unwittingly compromising themselves to CCP surveillance and influence,” the letter notes, citing an internal investigation that found ByteDance was tracking data of American journalists who covered TikTok. 

The members of Congress also cite concerns over China’s “genocide against at least two million Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups” and other human rights abuses. They write that the Chinese regime should not “be able to silence U.S. critics of these policies, let alone be able to surveil U.S. users, prey on American children, and exploit sensitive U.S. data to the detriment of our national security.”

When asked about the letter by the Sun, the FBI’s press office said it “confirms we received the letter” but declined to comment further. 

A representative from TikTok was not immediately reachable for comment, but TikTok Policy has responded publicly to lawmakers who call the app a tool of China. “60 percent of TikTok’s parent company is owned by global investors, 20 percent by our company’s founders, with the remaining 20 percent owned by our employees — including thousands of Americans — and has a five person Board of Directors, with three of those seats filled by Americans,” the platform has said repeatedly on X.

The New York Sun

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